Major League Baseball
Braves-Reds preview
Major League Baseball

Braves-Reds preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 5:14 p.m. ET

CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Reds figured that when the starting rotation got healthy, the bullpen would stabilize itself. That's been the case of late.

The return of Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen, who were projected starters prior to beginning the season on the disabled list, has given manager Bryan Price a lot more flexibility.

"We have different pieces now with Iglesias and Lorenzen," Price said. "We're not constantly using the (Tony) Cingrani-(Ross) Ohlendorf-(Blake) Wood trio. It gives us a bigger pool to pull from in the late innings. Josh Smith has been a nice addition, too, and we've got 90 games under our belt. We're starting to figure things out."

The numbers, up until Tuesday night's hiccup, bear that out.


Cincinnati's bullpen posted a 6.21 ERA in April then 7.25 in May. But, that dropped to 4.77 in June and was 2.20 through 49 innings in July.

Reds relievers had a season-high 13-inning scoreless streak snapped on Tuesday night when the Braves' Gordon Beckham hit a go-ahead, two-run home run off Lorenzen in the seventh inning. The Braves eventually won the game 5-4 in 11 innings.

The Reds bullpen could get a respite on Wednesday with right-hander Anthony DeSclafani on the mound for the finale of a three-game series against Atlanta.

DeSclafani is making his fourth career start against the Braves, coming in with a 1-2 record and 5.27 ERA in three prior outings against them.

He was among the young pitchers who began the season on the DL. Since coming off, he's produced quality starts in six of seven appearances and in his past five starts has gone 4-0 with a 2.67 ERA with 10 earned runs allowed in 33 2/3 innings.

DeSclafani was projected to be the Reds' starter on Opening Day before suffering an oblique injury in his last start of Spring Training. He made his season debut on June 10 in a 2-1 win over the Oakland A's.

Right-hander Lucas Harrell will start Wednesday for the Braves. He's 1-1 with a 3.63 ERA after being signed to a minor league contract in May.

Harrell is 0-1 with a 3.90 ERA in six appearances including four starts against the Reds.

Atlanta is looking forward to getting healthy as well. There was some good news on Tuesday when right-handed reliever Shae Williams came through his simulated game on Monday with no issues. Williams who's coming off Tommy John surgery, is expected to start for the Gulf Coast Braves in two days.

"He had normal soreness," said manager Brian Snitker. "He threw 28-29 pitches, and his velocity was good. It's hard to get excited about a simulated game in the Gulf Coast League. We'll start his program and go from there."

The Braves still are without closer Arodys Vizcaino, who's on the DL with an oblique injury. Jim Johnson, who's been sharing closer duties, blew a two-run lead in the ninth inning Tuesday night, but the Braves rallied for a 5-4 win in 11 innings to earn Mauricio Cabrera his first career win.

"This team never gives up," said Atlanta right-hander Tyrell Jenkins, who turns 24 on Wednesday. "They just keep fighting."


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